Patterico's Pontifications


Follow-up: Ocasio Cortez Says “I Will Never Apologize” For Concentration Camp Remarks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:58 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared ICE detention facilities with Nazi-era concentration camps, saying that “the U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are,” there were immediate calls for the freshman lawmaker to apologize. However, no such calls have come from Democratic leadership. To the contrary, Nancy Pelosi essentially brushed it off.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said:

She does not understand what is going on at the border at the same time. But there is no comparison … and to actually say that is embarrassing. To take somewhere in history where millions of Jews died … and equate that to somewhere that’s happening on the border … she owes this nation an apology.

The Jewish Communities Relations Council wrote:

“We are deeply disturbed by the language used in your recent Instagram live video which seeks to equate the detention centers on America’s southern border with Nazi-era Concentration Camps,” the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York wrote in a letter. “The terms ‘Concentration Camp’ and ‘Never Again’ are synonymous with and evocative of the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, in which 6 million European Jews were systematically denied civil and human rights due to their race and ultimately murdered in a state-sponsored genocide.”

CNN commentator John Avlon said her comments were “unacceptable” and called for her to apologize as well:

“Holocaust metaphors are beyond problematic,” he argued.

“And it’s clear,” he continued, “because she said ‘never again means something,’ that she was referring to it [the Holocaust]. She said later that she meant to make the comparison to internment camps. Look, internment camps are horrific, the key difference being millions of people systematically murdered by a state,” the journalist said.

“When we start to rationalize and put it in context, we’re [did she says this or ‘we’] say words don’t matter anymore in politics,” Avlon went on. “We’ve become numb to it. This is across the line. It’s not that hard to apologize. She should do it. It’s unacceptable.”

In spite of calls for her to apologize, Ocasio-Cortez dug in her heels, and responded with a firm “no”:


DHS ripped 1000s of children from their parents & put them in cages w inhumane conditions.

They call their cells “dog pounds” & “freezers.”

I will never apologize for calling these camps what they are.

If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps – not the nomenclature.

Ocasio-Cortez knows that Pelosi is unlikely to pursue this any further, let alone demand she apologize. And that’s because she doesn’t have to: Remember how Pelosi jumped to Rep. Omar Ilhan’s defense after the freshman lawmaker used anti-Semitic tropes, saying “I don’t think our colleague is anti-Semitic. I think she has a different experience in the use of words, doesn’t understand that some of them are fraught with meaning, that she didn’t realize.”? Well, Pelosi was exampling a successful strategy for Democrats to employ when one of their colleagues really steps in it. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas learned the lesson well:

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, explained during a CNN interview Wednesday that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared the migrant detention centers to concentration camps because she has a different “usage” and “perception” of words.

“With all due respect to her, she has a different usage of words, maybe a different perception. I live at the border, I’ve been to those detention centers, I’ve been to those shelters, as you know. There are adults in detention centers, but if they’re children, they are put in shelters that are run by nonprofits,” Cuellar said.

That Pelosi is one clever fox. It’s a great strategy. It provides cover, and allows a Democrat to say well, anything.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


President Trump Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign: It’s All About The Numbers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:50 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last night President Trump officially launched his re-election campaign with a rally in Orlando, Florida and a near-capacity crowd in attendance. According to offcial turnstile counts provided by the city of Olando, the 19,792 spectators fell slightly shy of the 20,000 capacity for the Amway Center. President Trump claimed during the rally:

“You know if we have three or four empty seats, the fake news will say, ‘Hey, they didn’t fill it up,’” Trump said at the rally. “They said, maybe we shouldn’t go to Orlando, we should go someplace else. I said, no, go to Orlando. Not only did we fill it up, we had 120,000 requests.”

To note:

Anyone could have requested two tickets at the Trump campaign’s website before the event, with a text verification required. Seating in the arena was mostly first-come, first-serve.

While most of the sections were filled to capacity, several sections in the upper tier of the arena had empty seats as the time approached for Trump to start his speech. But there also was a standing-room-only section on the arena floor in front of the stage that was crowded with people.

About an hour before Trump began to speak at 8:14 p.m., the long lines snaking around the Amway Center were gone and people could easily walk into the event. Only a few dozen people watched on screens outside at the campaign’s “45 Fest.”

None of this is really a big deal, except to President Trump, who will argue crowd size any day of the week, and will no doubt be contesting the actual count at some later point in time.

On a side note, reports state that President Trump raised nearly a whopping $25 million in the first 24 hours of his reelection campaigning:


From the report:

The $24.8 million sum is several magnitudes higher than the leading Democratic candidates seeking the chance to challenge Trump in 2020. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign said in April it pulled in $6.3 million during the 24 hours after he announced his third White House run.

Remember that these numbers are coming from the campaign itself: All 24-hour fundraising numbers come directly from the campaigns themselves or party committees, rather than the Federal Elections Commission. Fundraising figures reported by the campaign will be publicly available by July 15 and will offer more detail, including amounts of money spent, and cash-on-hand totals.

And speaking of yuge numbers: Still no word from the White House when President Trump will pay off his MAGA rally debts :

A new investigation from NBC News and the Center for Public Integrity found the Trump campaign owes city governments across the country upwards of $800,000 for police and public safety costs from his events.

The largest invoice to date comes from El Paso, Texas, where the president held a campaign rally in February. Trump still owes the city $470,417 for the event, the invoice shows.

Some invoices date back to 2016, before Trump was elected president. His 2016 campaign skipped out on municipal public safety bills from Green Bay and Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Tucson, Arizona; Burlington, Vermont and Spokane, Washington, according to the report.

Another five cities, including El Paso; Mesa, Arizona; Billings, Montana; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Lebanon, Ohio, are owed a combined $629,015.88.

Huge numbers, indeed.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

House Judiciary Democrats Hold Hearing On Reparations

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:30 am

[guest post by Dana]

Today is Juneteenth, a day that is set aside to celebrate the official end of chattel slavery in the United States, and it is also the day chosen to hold a House Committee hearing on slavery reparations, including setting up a commission to determine what reparations would entail with regard to the descendants of slaves. Today’s proposal, H.R.40 is being sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is backing the bill. Sen. Cory Booker, actor Danny Gover, and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is seen as having brought the issue of reparations back into the public conversation, are scheduled to testify in support of Lee’s measure.

Supporters of “reparatory justice” want people to know that they view this as more than just the government sending a check to black Americans:

Advocates emphasize that reparations would address more recent policies, and do not necessarily mean the government would be writing checks to black people… government could engage in…zero-interest loans for black prospective homeowners, free college tuition, community development plans to spur the growth of black-owned businesses in black neighborhoods — to address the social and economic fallout of slavery and racially discriminatory federal policies that have resulted in a huge wealth gap between whites and blacks in America. It would be up to the commission to explore such options and others.

From Cory Booker:

Booker…told the committee that America has not yet grappled with racism and white supremacy and that the hearing presents a “historic opportunity to break the silence, to speak to the ugly past and talking constructively about how we will move this nation forward.”

“It’s about time we find the common ground and the common purpose to deal with the ugly past and make sure that generations ahead do not have to continue to mark disparities,” Booker said on Wednesday.

Booker had previously told CNN’s Jake Tapper:

“Do I support legislation that is race-conscious about balancing the economic scales? Not only do I support it, but I have legislation that actually does it.”

Booker has authored his own companion bill:

It’s the only reparations bill to be introduced in the Senate after Reconstruction. Like Jackson-Lee’s bill, the senator’s bill would establish a commission to examine the impacts of slavery in the U.S. — from its inception until the end of the Civil War in 1865 — and recommend ways to compensate the descendants of slaves.

Co-sponsors of Booker’s bill include Democratic presidential candidates Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar. A spokesperson for Joe Biden commented that the candidate “believes that we should gather the data necessary to have an informed conversation about reparations, but he has not endorsed a specific bill.”

Recent polling about reparations puts hopeful Democratic candidates in an interesting position, especially the top-tier Democrats who are embracing the issue:

A Fox News poll in April found that 60 percent of Americans oppose paying cash reparations to descendants of slaves, while just 32 percent support it. A Rasmussen poll in the same month found that just 21 percent of likely voters think taxpayers should pay reparations to black Americans who can prove they are descended from slaves.

However, in a finding that could put 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls in a bind, the Fox poll found that among Democratic primary voters, 54 percent said they were likely to support a candidate who backed reparations, while 33 percent said they were not likely.

Additionally, Data For Progress found in a poll last year that while the measure had only 26 percent of Americans in favor, it had net positive support among voters under 45. A Point-Taken Marist poll in 2016 found that while 68 percent of Americans were opposed to reparations, 6 in 10 black Americans said they were in favor.


A recent government survey found that 52 percent of Americans — including growing percentages of whites, blacks, independents, Democrats and Republicans — believe the government does not spend enough money on improving the conditions of African-Americans, according to The Associated Press. But the survey found that just three in 10 Americans think the government is obligated to make up for past racial discrimination.

Postscript 1: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked his thoughts about reparations, and his comments made very clear his position on whether any reparations bill would be given a hearing:

I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none us currently living are responsible is a good idea. We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We elected an African-American president.

I think we’re always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was responsible for that, and I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it. First of all, it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate. We’ve had waves of immigrants come to the country and experience dramatic discrimination of one kind or another. So no, I don’t think reparations are a good idea.

Postscript 2: Unbelievably, (and ironically or expectedly, depending on your level of cynicism), only Elizabeth Warren has said specifically that American Indians should be part of any conversation about reparations.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Democrats (and CNN) Help Trump Re-Election

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:55 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

The HillDems make U-turn on calling border a ‘manufactured crisis’:

Democrats have done a U-turn on their claim from earlier this year that President Trump’s concern about illegal immigration at the southern border was a “manufactured crisis.”

Democrats now acknowledge there is a genuine humanitarian crisis and are preparing to pass legislation that would provide as much as $4.5 billion in federal aid to address the surge of migrants from Central America.

A surging number of arrests, media reports of smugglers renting children to desperate migrants to help them gain entry into the United States and stories of children dying in U.S. custody have changed the narrative.

This change has come during the rollout of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in Florida — coverage from which CNN reportedly “cut away when the crowd starting chanting, ‘CNN sucks’ and the president invoked the ‘fake news’ slur.”

Maybe Trump should report the Democrats’ immigration change and CNN’s consistency as in-kind contributions to his re-election campaign.


Puppy Dog Eyes

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 6:44 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Dogs may have evolved with ‘puppy dog eyes’ to communicate with humans, study finds:

If you’ve ever fallen for the old ‘puppy dog eyes’ trick, don’t feel bad. A new study has found dogs evolved new facial muscles specifically to tug at your heartstrings over the course of thousands of years of domestication.

Unlike wolves, dogs have a muscle responsible for raising the inner eyebrow “specifically for facial communication with humans,” according to research published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Monday.

I love puppy dogs and their puppy dog eyes.


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